All dharmas are nothing but rootless. This is the cypress tree in the garden. It’s this stick; it’s this hand. The cypress tree in the garden is a reference to a koan in which a monk asks Chaochou, “What’s the meaning of the ancestor coming from the West?” and Chaochou says, “The cypress tree in the garden.” The monk responds, “Master, please don’t teach using an object.” Chaochou says, “I’m not showing it to you in an object.” The monk again says, “What’s the meaning of the ancestor coming from the West?” Chaochou says, “The cypress tree in the garden.” The commentary to this koan says, “Chaochou’s Zen cuts off the myriad streams and stuns the mind. There is no place to take hold of it. This cypress tree is not to be found in the world of phenomena, nor can it be found in the realm of emptiness. Then where shall we search for it? Putting aside the cypress tree, I ask you what is the meaning of the ancestor coming from the West? If you can clearly see into the monastic’s question, you will clearly see through Chaochou’s response. If you think there’s any meaning whatsoever, then you won’t even be able to save yourself. If you say there’s no meaning, you’re still a hundred miles from the truth. What would you say?”

What is it that delineates boundaries? The rootless tree fills the universe. The dharmas are rootless; the dharmas fill the universe. That being the case, where do all of these boundaries come from? Where do I end and you begin? What creates these edges? It’s got to do with your mind and how you use it, how you see yourself and how you see the universe.

“The piece of land without north and south” is not a piece of anything. The literal Chinese characters for north and south are the same as yin and yang or shadow and light, but whenever they’re used in reference to land, they refer to north and south. To even say “a piece of land” mistakes it—it’s a continuum, a seamless continuum. It’s the ten directions itself. The ten directions include everything: the eight points of the compass and the zenith and nadir. Dogen says, “It’s the Nirvana Forest. If you can’t use that, use the entire world in the ten directions.” Why would he say such a thing? What’s the relationship between the Nirvana Forest, a place where corpses are buried, and the ten directions? What’s the connection? Is the connection everywhere?